Back to basics: Hand-drawn

By Lara Grad, Senior Art Director at The San Jose Group

Lately I have noticed a surge of interest in hand-drawn typography in advertising design. For a while I saw this revival mostly in book cover design, but it now seems to have spilled over to mainstream design in both print and digital media advertising. I believe this is a reflection of the quality of work that designers can produce by using the latest and greatest software available on Macs now, and also because of the fact that designers, illustrators, and art directors are struggling to stand out in a digital age.

In an effort to stand apart from the usage of standard typefaces, many companies have begun to incorporate a completely new and unique font into their brand. The hand-drawn type is now a luxury item, much like typed print used to be not so long ago.

One great example of this trend is in Chevrolet’s viral video that showcases an artist hand-drawing the cars, prices and typography of the ad on a backlit billboard. The billboard reads, “We saved money by hand-drawing this ad.  So you pay less for the car.”  The viral video displays the artistic methods to implement the idea of simplicity.   It can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/20324654

Another example of this is in Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign.  Each letter used in the subtitles of the TV spot are unique and there are actual brush stokes in the artwork. Young people in particular, respond well to authentic, one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn writing and art. There is an authenticity to handmade stuff that is harder to get with an all digital approach.  The spot can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdW1CjbCNxw&feature=related

Hand drawn elements on a whole seem to have become more popular providing a more creative and unique design. One reason people seem to like this style is that it communicates information with a very emotional, personal and informal tone. The use of hand-drawn typography also communicates definitive personalities with distinct references to the past. Each handwritten font has its own distinct personality.

For more information about this topic please email sjgpr@sjadv.com. For more information about the San Jose Group please visit www.thesanjosegroup.com

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One response

  1. Hand-writting is also a way to bring some warmth and humane personality to the message.

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